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MD of Bonnyville resident shares frustrations around drainage issues

A frustrated resident from the MD of Bonnyville shared his experience with flooding on his property

BONNYVILLE – A resident of the MD of Bonnyville shared his frustrations of his property being underwater each spring.  

Beau Ferbey has experienced ‘awful’ flooding for the past two years around his house on Pine Crescent, which is located by Moose Lake. After reaching out to the previous homeowner, he learned the excess water is a reoccurring issue.  

“I found out that the reason why the entire subdivision is draining out onto our property and sitting there because the MD had put their own public walkway right behind our property to the south,” Ferbey detailed during council’s Dec. 16 meeting. “The MD had built that up back in 1996 and that was to prevent the septic fields to the south of us from flooding so now all that water sits on our place.”  

Coun. Darcy Skarsen has gone out to see the property in the spring and noted the work the municipality has done prevents the water from draining correctly.   

“The trouble I have with this one is the whole area drains nicely but when the MD put the road up, it kind of acts as a dam now and pushes it all back to his house,” Skarsen noted. “There’s a nice drainage course that goes right to the lake that we kind of dammed off, so I’m not sure what the solutions are there.”  

Ferbey also noted that due to ‘the lay of the land’ changing over the years, there’s now water coming onto his property from the other houses along the road.  

“That’s the big issue, and it’s upsetting to find out that it was the MD that had built up their municipal reserve or public walkway or whatever you want to call it. They built that back up in 1996 and that’s the reason this is all happening.”  

According to Ferbey, he’s had to take 10 days off work each spring to deal with the flooding and simply can’t afford to do it year after year.   

“I don’t have the time to keep dealing with Alberta Environment. I think that’s something the MD should be doing,” he said, adding the recommendations he’s been told were deemed too expensive to deal with flooding issues of one home.  

“I look at it this way - it’s not for one house - It’s the drainage for the whole subdivision.”  

Reeve Greg Sawchuk said, “We’ve had a number of these subdivision drainage issues come forward and they’ve been in the multi-million dollars to actually try to achieve some sort of solution.” 

When asked by council what Ferbey thought the "easy fix" for the problem was, he noted the "simplest solution would be digging the ditch deeper, in my eyes, so it travels south into the field and from there makes its way down into the lake."

“It seems like a simple fix, but at the end of the day, you still need to get Alberta Environment to sign off on it because we’re moving the water and changing its course because what was done two decades ago.”  

Council accepted the presentation as information and administration will bring the subject back to council for the Jan. 20 meeting. Sawchuk also said the drainage problems will be noted in the MD’s drainage map, which is currently in the works. 

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle